Academic Freedom and Responsibility (A-2.5)
Original Implementation: August 1, 2000
Last Revision: April 23, 2013
Institutions of higher education are operated for the common good, requiring an uninhibited search for truth and open expression. Faculty have legally protected rights and privileges. They are free to pursue scholarly inquiry without undue restriction, and to voice and publish individual conclusions concerning the significance of evidence that they consider relevant. Faculty must be free from the fear that others, inside or outside the university community, may threaten their professional careers or the material benefits accruing from it.
Faculty are entitled to freedom in the classroom to discuss relevant topics. Topics introduced in the classroom should be related to the course subject. Faculty must be free from institutional censorship or retribution when speaking, writing, or acting in a public capacity. Faculty should make it clear that they are not speaking for the institution. Even in public discourse, however, faculty should adhere to principles of academic responsibility.
The principles of academic responsibility include:
- Maintaining competence in their fields of specialization and professional behavior. Evidence of this competence should be displayed in teaching, scholarship, and service, including on-campus and off-campus contexts.
- Faculty should be judicious in the use of controversial material in the classroom and should introduce such material only if it has a clear relationship to the subject field.
- Faculty should strive to communicate accurately and respectfully; however, faculty who make erroneous or critical statements are still protected.
- When speaking or acting as private persons, faculty must avoid creating the impression that they speak or act on behalf of the university.
- Faculty statements are not protected free speech if they either substantially impede the performance of their daily duties or materially and substantially interfere with the regular operation of the institution.
Cross Reference: Faculty Code of Conduct (E-72); Ethics (E-56); Tex. Educ. Code § 51.354(5)
Responsible for Implementation: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Contact for Revision: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Board Committee Assignment: Academic and Student Affairs